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Aakash Chopra picks India’s probable playing XI for 1st T20I vs Afghanistan
By SMCS - Jan 11, 2024 12:00 pm
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Former India player turned veteran commentator Aakash Chopra said that Ravi Bishnoi and Washington Sundar will not play in India’s playing XI for the first T20I against Afghanistan in Mohali on Thursday, January 11. Bishnoi and Sundar are among four spinners in India’s 16-member squad, with Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav being the other two as well. However, Virat Kohli won’t be part of the series opener as he has opted out of the game for personal reasons as well.

Team India
Team India

With Rahul Dravid said that Rohit Sharma and Yashasvi Jaiswal will open the innings, Chopra also added that Shubman Gill could take Kohli’s place at No. 3 as well. He also feels the hosts could alternatively bat Tilak Varma at No. 3 and can include both Jitesh Sharma and Sanju Samson in the playing XI as well.

“The Indian team’s coach Rahul Dravid has said that you will see Yashasvi with Rohit as an opener as that’s the right way to go. There will be a question at No. 3. Will Shubman be seen at No. 3? At times, you play a player just to keep the seat warm. So as soon as Kohli comes, Gill will be out, that’s a possibility,” he again shared. “If Gill doesn’t play at No. 3 hypothetically, who will you play? You can play Tilak Varma at No. 3. Then you can play Rinku Singh at No. 4. You can have a direct shoot-out between Jitesh Sharma and Sanju Samson at No. 5 and No. 6, or else you can keep Shivam Dube there.”

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“Shivam Dube can be there and then Jitesh Sharma can play at No. 6. That is also a possibility. So plenty of left-handers – Yashasvi as an opener, Tilak Varma, Rinku Singh and Shivam Dube. There could be four left-handers in the top six if you need an extra bowler,” he further added.

Team India
Team India

However, Aakash Chopra also added that the Indian team could even consider playing Sanju Samson at No. 3.  Aakash Chopra also expects India to play Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav as their two spinners as well. He also shared that all three seamers – Arshdeep Singh, Avesh Khan and Mukesh Kumar – will be there in the playing XI.

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“After that, Axar will play for sure. Axar is also a left-hander. If you wish to play Washington Sundar by mistake, another left-hander. However, I don’t think Washi will be able to play. I feel if Axar is at No. 7, you will have to play a spinner only at No. 8 and that will be Kuldeep Yadav,” Aakash Chopra concluded. “If Kuldeep plays at No. 8, India will have to go with three fast bowlers because considering the fog here, I am convinced a lot of dew could come. So I feel three fast bowlers and two spinners. A place might not created for Ravi Bishnoi and Washi.”